There are many environmental problems associated with ruminant livestock and these problems continue to grow as the demand for meat-rich diets increases around the world. One of the biggest problems is that cows emit methane through eructation (or belching) as they chew their cud. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, some 25 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. More than a quarter of all human-originated methane going into the atmosphere comes from raising livestock.
There’s ample evidence over the past decade or so that Americans are gradually changing their diets, driven by health concerns among other factors. But there’s one change that really stands out. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans have sliced their beef consumption by 19% between 2005 and 2014.
At the end of last year, Southern California Edison turned on the largest lithium-ion battery storage facility in the world in Ontario, California. It is a substation with 80 megawatt-hours of capacity, enough energy to power 2,500 households or charge 1,000 Tesla cars a day.
Most of the blame for climate change has been placed on the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but methane also plays a major role. Estimates are that about 1/5 of greenhouse effect warming is caused by methane in the atmosphere. There is far less of it than carbon dioxide, but methane is tremendously more effective at trapping heat.
The top of the world is turning from white to blue in the summer. The ice that has long covered the north polar seas is melting away.
The boom in natural gas drilling by conventional methods and by fracking has led to a spike in methane emissions from pipelines, storage tanks, processing facilities, and other parts of the natural gas system. Natural gas is mostly composed of methane, so these emissions constitute waste and lost revenues. But they also represent a serious environmental problem because methane is 25 times more effective in trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.
NASA data show that the Earth’s temperature in July was the highest recorded since record-keeping began 136 years ago. It was also the 10th straight month of record-breaking temperatures and was .18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous hottest July in 2011.
New York City, the financial and cultural center as well as the largest city in the country, is known for a lot of things: skyscrapers, shopping, and pizza immediately come to mind. But we should add another thing to that list. Trash.
The average global temperature is one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. There has long been a goal to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees above those levels. But the Paris climate conference has set a more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. What difference would that half a degree make?
Should we really be putting food scraps down our sinks? Advertisements for kitchen garbage disposals assure us that these devices are a ‘hygienic way of eliminating waste and keeping odors at bay’ – but behind marketing materials questions remain.
People continue to find new ways to generate energy from unusual sources. A team of scientists at several universities recently reported on a new fuel cell that uses tomato waste left over from harvests in Florida.
It’s being called the largest environmental disaster in California’s history. On October 23, 2015, a massive natural gas leak erupted at a storage well operated by Southern California Gas in Aliso Canyon, outside of Los Angeles. The leak has forced more than 2,800 families from their homes, and to make that worse, they have no idea when they’ll be able to return.
Climate change is causing the world’s lakes to warm, with repercussions for fisheries and freshwater supplies. So reports an ambitious new study, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, and recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The widespread use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as well as improved drilling techniques have created a major boom in natural gas production. This unquestionably has positive economic impacts for many. One of the important consequences of this is that natural gas is increasingly taking the place of coal for powering electrical generating plants.
Many people compost their food scraps and yard waste because they think it is the right thing to do. In some places, like San Francisco and Seattle, there is curbside pickup available to have these organic materials composted.